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Russia Warns of Potential Boycott of French Goods Over Paris Mayor’s Olympics Comments

Moscow, March 31, 2024, The Europe Today: Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, issued a warning on Sunday, suggesting that Moscow could potentially boycott certain French goods. This cautionary statement came after Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo declared that Russian and Belarusian athletes were “not welcome” at the upcoming Olympics.

In a post on her Telegram channel, Zakharova questioned the possibility of retaliating against France’s stance by boycotting French products that are widely available in Russia. She highlighted the extensive selection of goods in Russia that could serve as substitutes for French imports.

Mayor Hidalgo’s remarks, made during a visit to a training center for Ukrainian athletes in Kiev, sparked controversy. Despite athletes from Russia and Belarus being officially permitted to participate in the Olympics as neutrals, Hidalgo’s statement conveyed a different sentiment.

In response, Zakharova warned that further statements of a similar nature from Paris could lead to repercussions for French businesses. She referenced past incidents, such as farmers’ protests in Paris, suggesting that similar unrest could occur if tensions escalate.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had previously recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus not be allowed to compete in international events following the onset of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. However, the IOC later ruled that a limited number of individuals from these countries could participate in the Olympics as Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs).

Despite the IOC’s decision, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov criticized the restrictions, describing them as contrary to the ideals of the Olympic movement. He emphasized that the limitations imposed on Russian and Belarusian athletes undermined the principles of fair competition and equality.

As tensions persist between Russia and France over the Olympics issue, the possibility of a trade dispute looms, adding another layer of complexity to the already strained relations between the two nations.